Brandon Greyson and the South Side boys basketball team expected a stern test when they visited an undefeated Valley Stream North squad on Wednesday night.
Despite a blazing-fast start and double-digit lead, the Cyclones got what they expected. But South Side still managed to pass the test in the final moments.
Greyson finished with a team-high 17 points and Ryan McCarthy made a crucial free-throw with 15.5 seconds remaining as South Side held on for a last-second 61-59 non-league victory over Valley Stream North.
“We started off really quick and began to slow down,” Greyson said. “But we fought through the end and got a couple of big defensive stops.”
A long Valley Stream North three-point attempt with seven seconds remaining banged off the backboard wide, giving South Side (1-1) an anxious first win of the young season.
“We just didn’t want to foul,” Patrick Basile said. “We didn’t want to give up a three and wanted to play good defense. It’s a good win for us.”
Noah Shy, who finished with 14 points, was fouled on a successful layup attempt and converted the three-point play with 58.4 seconds left to bring Valley Stream North within one, 60-59.
South Side then failed to extend its lead, but maintained it after forcing center Shamari Griffith into a difficult jump-hook attempt in the lane that resulted in a miss and loose-ball foul on the Spartans.
McCarthy, who had nine points, then knocked down one of his two free throws. “I was just thinking about finishing my shot,” he said.
South Side cruised in the first half. With about 2:30 minutes left in the second quarter, Basile’s three-pointer gave the Cyclones a 34-17 advantage. He recorded 11 points.
But Valley Stream North (3-1) went down swinging.
A 7-0 Valley Stream North run early in the second half cut the South Side lead to one possession at 36-33. South Side led 44-40 before the dramatic fourth-quarter conclusion.
“We started off the game great,” South Side coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “Give Valley Stream North a ton of credit, they didn’t fold. Little by little they chipped away and made it a two-point game at the end.”
Greyson understood the significance of passing this early-season test.
“We’ve been in tough situations before,” he said. “We’re confident. I feel we’re a good team after this win.”